Trona is one of the world’s most abundant natural resources. It’s mined from deposits, processed into soda ash, and shipped around the world to create a variety of products across many industries, such as building, automotive, home, cleaning, energy, beverage, food and glass, bakeware, industrial, water treatment, oil, and gas.
The Green River Basin in Wyoming is considered the “Trona Capital of the World” because it is one of the world’s largest, purest, and most accessible natural trona deposits. Spanning across Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado, it supplies over 90% of the nation’s soda ash. But how did it get there?
The trona deposit that is mined today was created roughly 50-60 million years ago when a large, fairly shallow, freshwater lake dried up. The ancient body of water became known as Lake Gosiute and, at the time, spanned over 15,000 square miles. During this time period, volcanic activity was abundant throughout the region and much of the ash and surrounding debris often fell into the lake. The waters became supersaturated with elements such as sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and many others. Due to the unstable climate, the lake rapidly and repeatedly evaporated, creating an environment that alternated between humid and arid. With the loss of outflows, high amounts of alkaline (salt brine) began to evaporate. The mixture of elements that was left behind eventually settled, forming one of the largest trona deposits in the world.
Today, the Green River Basin is home to Ciner Resources’ mining facility. Across 1,300 square miles, we naturally mine trona 850 feet below the surface. As one of the largest trona resources at over 127 billion tons, more than 40 billion tons are economically mineable. At the current rate of production, Wyoming’s trona reserve positions Ciner to supply the world with superior soda ash today and for decades to come. For more information about trona in the Green River Basin, visit wsgs.wyo.gov and ciner.us.com.